Sunday, October 31, 2010

pumpkin eater

Despite the fact that almost all my experiences with eating pumpkin have been of the "not even a little bit healthy" type, I know pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse, with lots of the good stuff (vitamins, minerals, fiber) and nearly none of the bad stuff (calories, fat). Maybe it's time I get to know pumpkin's healthy side...

Pumpkin is a fruit of the plant of the same name and belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family that also includes gourds. It is quite similar to gourd in its appearance and is believed to have originated in North America. However, there is no fixed shape of pumpkins and they usually vary from being oblate to oblong. The rind is smooth, lightly ribbed and usually, orange or yellow in color. With a high nutritional value, pumpkins are associated with a lot of health benefits. Apart from the flesh, even the seeds of pumpkins boast of a large number of nutrition benefits. Read on to know more about the nutritious pumpkin.

Nutritional Value of Pumpkin
Given below is the amount of nutrients present in 1 cup Pumpkin (cooked, boiled and drained): 
  • Calcium - 37 mg
  • Carbohydrate - 12 gm
  • Dietary Fiber - 3 gm
  • Folate - 21 mcg
  • Iron - 1.4 mg
  • Magnesium - 22 mg
  • Niacin - 1 mg
  • Potassium - 564 mg
  • Protein - 2 grams
  • Selenium - 0.50 mg
  • Vitamin A - 2650 IU
  • Vitamin C - 12 mg
  • Vitamin E - 3 mg
  • Zinc - 1 mg
  • Calories - 49 

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Pumpkin 
  • Pumpkin is very rich in carotenoids, which is known for keeping the immune system of an individual strong and healthy.
  • Beta-carotene, found in pumpkin, is a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. It helps prevent build up of cholesterol on the arterial walls, thus reducing chances of strokes.
  • Being rich in alpha-carotene, pumpkin is believed to slow the process of aging and also prevent cataract formation.
  • Pumpkins have been known to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.
  • The high amount of fiber, present in a pumpkin, is good for the bowel health of an individual.
  • Being loaded with potassium, pumpkin is associated with lowering the risk of hypertension.
  • The presence of zinc in pumpkins boosts the immune system and also improves the bone density. 

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds 
  • They promote overall prostate health, apart from alleviating the problem of difficult urination that is associated with an enlarged prostate.
  • They comprise of L-tryptophan, a compound that has been found to be effective against depression.
  • They are believed to serve as a natural protector against osteoporosis.
  • They have been known to reduce inflammation, without causing the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Studies have revealed that they help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.
  • Being rich in phytosterols, they have been associated with reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol.



Luna said...

Well! Guess who has not checked in on our blog since before Halloween! That would be me, but not me alone.

Pumpkin. I found pumpkin too much to deal with. However, I really like the butternut, buttercup, and acorn squash dishes I've used this Autumn. The biggest hassle for me is pealing. My hands do not work well with large pieces of anything. And, I don't like that starchy-not-exactly-sticky-but-definitely-unpleasant feeling left from handling the pealed squash.

On the up side, I really like the:

Pork Loin Chop
Autumn Squash and Tart Apples

recipe I've made 2 or 3 times. Last time I threw in some chunks of sweet potato, too. And, of course, simple if Steve is here to handle the squash. If you want the recipe, let me know, but that said I haven't used the recipe since the first time.

Happy eating! Luna

Luna said...

Oh, my gosh! I just realized my squash are ringing throughout my comment above!! They should not be pealed, but peeled! oops-a-daisy. Luna

Mike said...

Wow I didn't know pumpkin had that much calcium.